Minarchy and unicorn flatulance

April 27, 2017 § 14 Comments

“Minarchy” is a problematic concept.

Minarchy basically says that it is best to minimize the exercise of authority. But taken as something more authoritative than sentiment, this assumes that exercise of authority is a controllable parameter as opposed to a response to controverted/controvertible cases.

De facto, then, “minarchy” means that we require a society of minimal controversy, along with unicorns that fart fairy dust.

§ 14 Responses to Minarchy and unicorn flatulance

  • Interesting. This is a really subjective comment, but a few years back I realized that the things that make me happiest are not freedom and rights, but rather legitimate exercises of authority. So kids honoring their parents,husbands leading, cops following the law, things like that. In the absence of authority, chaos ensues pretty quickly.

    The tricky part sometimes is in trying to define “legitimate authority.” So where I live, marijuana is legal but there’s a 250 dollar plastic bag fine. What’s missing here is actually maximum controversy, as in controversy and confrontation are good, healthy, because they help to refine and define authority.

  • tz says:

    Or “Minarchy” means restricting violent – state – authority only to where the “controversy” threatens public order and the peace. Not every possible, potential, and imagined controversy.

    The church has authority and should use it, but it doesn’t involve violence. There are other authorities as well, and I see no limits there.

    A law may be just or unjust, but equally the enforcement can be just or unjust.

  • Zippy says:

    tz:

    Or “Minarchy” means restricting violent – state – authority only to where the “controversy” threatens public order and the peace.

    Any controversy can escalate to the point where public order and peace are threatened, including merely failure to doff your cap to the King.

    So again, nice sentiment.

  • CJ says:

    Zippy –

    I think you may be too dismissive. Excluding ideologues, when people of good faith use “minarchy” and suchlike they’re grasping for subsidiarity.
    As you’ve said if you were the sovereign and 2 subjects brought a minor dispute to you, you’d toss em both in the stocks.
    Of course the devil is in the details of what is and isnt minor, but the observation that “the government is adjudicating too many penny ante controversies” isn’t just “true but banal.”

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    … when people of good faith use “minarchy” and suchlike they’re grasping for subsidiarity.

    If so then it is a wildly inapt term, and these people of good faith need to be encouraged to avoid it.

    Minarchy implies minimization of the exercise of authority in general (the “min” is right there in the opening syllable) as opposed to “every exercise of authority in its proper place by the appropriate man”.

    Subsidiarity is not about minimizing the existence and exercise of authority. It is about authority residing in its proper place, exercised by the appropriate competent person in whom that authority is vested.

    Subsidiarity doesn’t mean “less rules”, it means “good and appropriate rules”.

  • […] society.  This leads them to believe that it is possible to constructively design a “free society” by running the right software, software which magically produces the results they […]

  • CJ says:

    I don’t think we disagree in substance. I think it’s down to how charitable you want to be to (non-demagogic) “minarchists.” They see parents arrested for kids being allowed to play outside alone and think it’s not right. Minarchy in this context to me looks like the altar to The Unknown God.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    I think it’s down to how charitable you want to be to (non-demagogic) “minarchists.”

    That question immediately expands to ask ‘how charitable’ I want to be to non-demagogic liberals in general, and what precisely constitutes charity.

    Is it in fact more charitable to leave them stuck to the tar baby, to coddle perverse ideas by understating the ludicrousness of those ideas? Or is it more charitable to rain my own sort of hellfire down upon the objectively ludicrous doctrines to which they are (at least tepidly) committed and which they (at least tepidly) support materially?

    My main approach has always been to treat others like adults and tell them exactly what I think of the doctrines to which they are committed, rather than coddling them by downplaying the self- and other-destructiveness of those doctrines. YMMV.

  • Marissa says:

    “The church has authority and should use it, but it doesn’t involve violence. There are other authorities as well, and I see no limits there.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_executed_in_the_Papal_States

  • […] wants to believe that a politics with minimized authority is not merely coherent, not merely possible, but is the only moral state of […]

  • […] escape from politics: to retreat into the frontier or behind fences and avoid other people and the controversies which arise when people live together: to practice politics through mechanical trickery while […]

  • […] [2] “We insist that we must have only good leaders” is a nice sentiment; but welcome to the human race. […]

  • […] Minarchy means we want everyone to get along and play nicely with each other, and unicorns that fart fairy dust. […]

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